Nell Greenfieldboyce

Nell Greenfieldboyce is a NPR science correspondent.

With reporting focused on general science, NASA, and the intersection between technology and society, Greenfieldboyce has been on the science desk's technology beat since she joined NPR in 2005.

In that time Greenfieldboyce has reported on topics including the narwhals in Greenland, the ending of the space shuttle program, and the reasons why independent truckers don't want electronic tracking in their cabs.

Much of Greenfieldboyce's reporting reflects an interest in discovering how applied science and technology connects with people and culture. She has worked on stories spanning issues such as pet cloning, gene therapy, ballistics, and federal regulation of new technology.

Prior to NPR, Greenfieldboyce spent a decade working in print, mostly magazines including U.S. News & World Report and New Scientist.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins, earning her Bachelor's of Arts degree in social sciences and a Master's of Arts degree in science writing, Greenfieldboyce taught science writing for four years at the university. She was honored for her talents with the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.

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4:52pm

Wed October 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Scientists Held Back Details On A Unique Botulinum Toxin

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:51 pm

The botulism toxin comes from Clostridium botulinum bacteria, seen here in a colorized micrograph.
James Cavallini Science Source

Scientists have discovered the first new form of botulinum toxin in over 40 years, but they're taking the unusual step of keeping key details about it secret.

That's because botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known. It causes botulism, and the newly identified form of it can't be neutralized by any available treatment.

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3:16pm

Tue October 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Shutdown Forces Antarctic Research Into 'Caretaker Status'

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:44 am

The Chalet (right) is the U.S. Antarctic Program's administrations and operations center at McMurdo Station.
Reed Scherer National Science Foundation

Earlier this week we told you that scientists who do research in Antarctica have been on pins and needles, worried that the government shutdown would effectively cancel all of their planned field work this year.

Well, those scientists just got the news they didn't want to hear.

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5:50pm

Mon October 7, 2013
The Government Shutdown

Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government Shutdown

A helicopter is unloaded from an LC-130 in Antarctica last December. Researchers on this mission were studying the Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-receding glaciers on the continent.
August Allen National Science Foundation

It looks like even Antarctica isn't far away enough to avoid getting caught up in the government shutdown.

That's because it's currently springtime there, and scientists who study this remote, rugged continent are poised to take advantage of the few months when there's enough daylight and it's warm enough to work. Advance teams have already started working to get things set up and ready for the researchers, who usually begin heading south right about now.

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3:35pm

Fri October 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Want To Read Others' Thoughts? Try Reading Literary Fiction

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 am

Would time spent with Anton Chekov, famed for his subtle, flawed characters, make you a better judge of human nature?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Your ability to "read" the thoughts and feelings of others could be affected by the kind of fiction you read.

That's the conclusion of a study in the journal Science that gave tests of social perception to people who were randomly assigned to read excerpts from literary fiction, popular fiction or nonfiction.

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4:35am

Thu October 3, 2013
Shots - Health News

From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 12:00 pm

The Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
National Institutes of Health

Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.

"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."

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